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Save Money, Promote Health by Making Kombucha

Kombucha+kit+in+the+process+of+being+made.+%28Photo+by+Sydney+Gastman%29
Kombucha kit in the process of being made. (Photo by Sydney Gastman)

Kombucha kit in the process of being made. (Photo by Sydney Gastman)

Kombucha kit in the process of being made. (Photo by Sydney Gastman)

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I have been drinking kombucha almost daily for the past two years. The fizzy fermented drink is a perfect way to get my daily allowance of probiotics, keeping my gut healthy and happy. However, at a price of up to $5 per bottle, this healthy habit can come with a hefty price. Over the years, I have scoured Little Rock for the best prices, and I have found that Drug Emporium sells GT’s Kombucha at the lowest cost: $2 per bottle. Still, the cost and waste that comes with buying glass bottle after glass bottle adds up. So, I recently decided to make my own. I was surprised by how simple it was to recreate that sparkling fruity flavor.

Although it has only recently gained widespread popularity in Western culture, kombucha has been around for thousands of years. Originating in eastern Asia, kombucha is loaded with probiotics, which are the “good bacteria” that make for a healthy gut. Drinking kombucha is claimed to come with a variety of health benefits, including better digestion, increased energy, a stronger immune system, and filtration of toxins.

“It makes my tummy feel better when it hurts,” senior Jackson Rayburn said.

There is little scientific evidence to back up these claims, but many people swear by the tea’s beneficial properties.

“I love kombucha because of the natural organisms that form through the fermentation process. They help my gut produce the natural biological factors of digestion, and I am very thankful for all of the health benefits!” senior Serena Hanson said. “It’s also super fun to try new flavors and learn about the formation process.”

To produce your own healthy kombucha, it is important to get specific types of each ingredient. For a gallon of kombucha, you need 2 tablespoons of loose tea or 8 tea bags, 1 cup of sugar, 13-14 cups of water, and 2 cups of starter tea or vinegar. To yield the best results, begin with using organic plain black tea to keep it simple and free of chemical contaminants. Other types of teas can be used with later batches. As for sugar, use white cane sugar or organic cane juice crystals; brown cane sugar or honey may be used, but results are inconsistent. You also need a live bacteria called a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), which comes in kombucha starter kits and can be found at health food stores like Natural Grocers, or online. When brewing kombucha at home, it is important to be careful that mold doesn’t grow on the SCOBY, so everything must be very clean.

To make the kombucha:

  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Once hot, stir in the sugar until it dissolves, and add the tea bags.
  3. Once the tea cools, remove the tea bags and pour the tea into a gallon-sized glass jar.
  4. Add the starter tea (already made kombucha) and the SCOBY to the mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon.
  5. Place a tight-weave cloth or paper coffee filter over the top of the glass jar (I used an old thin t-shirt), and secure it tight with a large rubber band or canning jar ring.
  6. Let the concoction sit for 1 week, then begin taste-testing it every day until the flavor is to your liking. It will get progressively more sour and fizzy as time goes on. If you would like to add flavor, add a couple pieces of fruit to the mix after a week.
  7. Once the kombucha is made, bottle it up into glasses or jars with tight-fitting lids to maintain the fizzy flavor. Share with your friends, and enjoy!

**Note: Do not drink too much at one time. It may lead to an upset stomach.

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